Bin checks row leaves students shaken

16:00, Dec 20 2013

WasteNet will introduce further safety measures after two Invercargill staff checking rubbish bins were abused and assaulted yesterday.

Two students employed by WasteNet and the Invercargill City Council were left shaken yesterday morning when a group of men approached them in Appleby and became angry about the tags showing their yellow recycling bins would not be collected.

The women were working as part of the Summer Recycling Bin Inspection Programme, checking bins to ensure residents are complying with the rules. The programme is run throughout the district.

Invercargill City Council solid waste manager Malcolm Loan said the situation yesterday became heated and one man slammed one of the workers' fingers in a bin.

Her 18-year-old colleague called police, he said.

Sergeant Pete Graham, of Invercargill, said police arrested a man for threatening behaviour. Staff had previously informed the man his recycling bins contained items not suitable to be recycled, he said.

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A slanging match ensued and the man would probably receive a warning. The two young workers had a job to do and "they deserve to be able to do this safely", Mr Graham said.

Mr Loan said it was not the first time someone had become angry about the inspectors, but it had never escalated as much.

"Normally, people are not too unreasonable."

The programme would not be called off, but the process would be reassessed after the Christmas break and more safety measures put in place, he said.

The Southland Times